An employer who wishes to use a geolocation device must make a declaration to the CNIL (Commission nationale de l’informatique et des libertés), which is responsible for ensuring that information technology remains at the service of citizens and does not jeopardize human identity or breach human rights, privacy or individual or public liberties. The CNIL will also verify that the principles relating to the protection of personal data are respected.
The declaration may be made online. Only after the employer receives confirmation from CNIL that the declaration was received may the employer implement a system with geolocation devices.
A decision of the Supreme Court of 3 November 2011 points out that a system monitoring employee activity such as geolocation can not legally (CA Versailles, 17th ch., 17 September 2010, No. 09/02316, Messaoudi C / SA Sogeres) be used by the employer for any other purposes than those declared to the CNIL, and must be brought to the attention of the employees.
Moreover, geolocation limits the personal freedom of employees and this must be justified, in accordance with Article L. 1121-1 of the French Labour Code. According to the Supreme Court there is no such justification for controlling the hours of work of an employee who is free to organize his work. Furthermore, the employee in the case in question had not been informed that the device would be used for such purpose. The court ruled that this illegal use is sufficient to justify a notification by the employee of a breach of the employment contract by the employer (assimilated to unfair dismissal).